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In Of Mice and Men, how does Steinbeck use George and Lennie's relationship as a whole...

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tarleatrevallyn | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM via web

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In Of Mice and Men, how does Steinbeck use George and Lennie's relationship as a whole to convey ideas about America in the 1930s?

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cornert07 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM (Answer #1)

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Steinbeck utilizes their friendship to criticize the pessimistic outlook of the time, as seen in the Boss’s reaction to them – “say what you sellin’”. By using the word “sellin’”, he conveys how people were unwilling to accept other approaches to life. Furthermore, the monetary connotations of the word exhibits how people became too materialistic and it suggests that if they were to open themselves up to new thinking, they would not be so isolated, as is seen on the ranch.

 

The power of relationships is shown when Candy is inspired to contribute to George and Lennie’s shared aspirations. When George says, “we’ll fix up that old place”, the advantages of working together are presented. Steinbeck’s selection of the word “fix,” relates to the economic and social problems prompted by the Great Depression. It suggests that through working together, America would recover and people could live the Jeffersonian Agrarian Myth, as symbolised by the dream, “live off the fat of the land”. 

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